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Think Millennials Use Social Media the Most?

gen x uses social media

Grumbling about whippersnappers and their attachment to mobile devices is a common refrain these days. Parents and marketers alike think Millennials, that coveted 18-34 year-old population, scroll dead-eyed and endlessly through their feeds. But data regarding just who spends the most time on social media show that users of popular new media tend to skew older.

A new report from Nielsen Social reveals that Generation X, people who are between 35 and 49, spend an average of 7 hours a week on social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as opposed the 6 hours for the younger generation. So, Gen X social media use is actually slightly higher than the Millennials!

Sean Casey, president of Nielsen’s social division, initially was surprised with the report’s findings, but it came to make sense to him over time. He suggested that “At a time when we wanted to be connected, it came out right when we were at the top of our media consumption.” Casey, 46, sits squarely in Gen X, said, “It’s become second nature to our generation.”

The report revealed some truths about social media and the way we use technology today. Smartphones are the most used method for accessing social media, which speaks to how popular the handheld technology has become. Furthermore, Facebook was the most used site, with Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest following. The report made some important distinctions between the generations. Gen X can’t get enough Facebook, while their children are busy SnapChatting each other.

The report, while perhaps challenging our biases, underscores how important it is for marketers to use the channels that will reach their potential customers. If a homebuilder wants to reach first time home buyers, SnapChat stories may be more effective than Facebook ads. Alternatively, if a builder is looking for established buyers (whether Gen X or Boomers), Facebook is the place to focus.

The report drilled deeper into usage patterns to reveal peak times. The study found that women spend more time with social media than men, and the highest usage time is on Sundays, using a mobile device while also watching television – this is known as the second screen. Companies can reach potential buyers on the weekends with mobile friendly messages that relate to what buyers may be watching on their TVs. Think in terms of athletes, actors or characters that Gen X watches.

Users look for information about products. They want to read reviews from their contacts about products and companies. They also respond to special promotions, discounts and exclusive access. Social media users like to share positive experiences with a company, so companies need to streamline sharing from their website to social sites.

Understanding how and when different generations access social media allows companies to assert their message to appropriate and receptive audiences. If your company is ready to create a social media strategy to reach your target audience, the experts at Marketing Relevance can help. Ask us how we can craft a plan just for you. Call 847-259-7312 or contact us for more information.